This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Quid fluitat cibus et gula potibus undat et escis?
pasta cibis cibus es caro, vermibus, atque putrescis.
est tua cernere pallida funere membra vel ora
funere pallida, sensibus algida, seque minora.
flava vel aurea, quam per eburnea colla rotabas,
caesaries iacet, et cor et os tacet, unde tonabas.
lumina visibus auris et auribus, os caret ore,
nasus odoribus et cor amoribus, ossa calore.
ad mala pes citus ac oculus situs in muliere
collaque lactea, brachia cerea computruere.
cerea brachia tam specialia quam speciosa,
membraque lubrica continet unica parvaque fossa.
candidus antea dens, labra flammea, flos faciei
et gena lucida sunt modo putrida, pars saniei.
nunc ubi pocula, nunc ubi fercula, fercula mille?
flos ubi primulus et rubicundulus est color ille?
vox ubi fractior, illecebrosior est ubi risus,
sermoque lubricus atque phreneticus in probra visus?
nunc ubi baltheus, annulus aureus, aurea vitta?
patria nomina nunc ubi culmina sunt proavita?
rege caro sata vermibus est data factaque vermis;
regibus edita rebus et obsita, nunc es inermis.
corpus amabile nunc es inutile corpus, et atrum;
morte resolveris atque cadaveris es simulacrum.
terrea gloria nunc quasi lilia, cras quasi ventus:
pulchra fugit modo tempore postmodo morte iuventus.
splendida pectora, splendida corpora corpus habentur,
utque senilia sic iuvenilia busta videntur.
mox puer interit ut rosa deperit edita vere,
a valido vigor, eripitur nitor a muliere.
lyncea lumina mentis acumina si quis haberet,
fellea dulcia pulchraque turpia, credo, videret;
corpora candida, pectora vivida, membra venusta
ossaque regia sint modo qualia, consule, busta.
vociferantia seque minantia busta loquuntur:
“primus et ultimus, altus et infimus, hic capiuntur.”
(Bernard of Cluny, De Contemptu Mundi 1.795-830)

Why is there such a stream of food, and why does the throat overflow with drinks and meals? O flesh stuffed with food, you are food for worms, and you rot. We see your limbs pallid in death or your face pallid in death, cold to the touch, less than themselves. Your yellow golden hair which you whirled about your ivory neck lies motionless; your heart is still, and your mouth which roared is now silent. Your eyes are deprived of seeing, your ears of hearing, your mouth of speech, your nose is deprived of scents, your heart of desires, your bones of warmth. Your foot swift to evil and your eye set on a woman, your milk-white neck and waxen arms have putrefied. A single, small ditch contains your waxen arms, so special, so splendid, and your wanton limbs. Your teeth once white, your flame-red lips, the former bloom of your face and clear cheeks are now rotten, part of corruption. Where are your cups now, where are your dishes now, your thousand dishes? Where is that first bloom and that ruddy hue? Where is your softened voice, where is your enticing smile, your wanton speech and frantic glances toward lewd acts? Where is your golden belt now, your golden ring, your golden chaplet? Where are your ancient names now, your ancestral honors? Your flesh sired by kings is given to worms and becomes a worm. O flesh born of kings and covered with possessions, now you are defenseless. O lovely body, now you are useless and black. You are dissolved in death, and you are the shadow of a corpse.
Earthly glory is like lilies now, but tomorrow like the wind. Fair youth now flies away because of time, but later because of death. Noble hearts and noble bodies become a corpse, and tombs of the young are seen just as tombs of the old. A child dies soon, just as a rose put forth in spring perishes, vigor is snatched away from a healthy man, beauty from a woman. If anyone might have the eyes of a lynx and keenness of mind, he would see, I believe, that sweet things are full of gall and handsome things are ugly. Take counsel: let beautiful bodies, lively hearts, comely limbs and regal bones be now just as tombs. The resounding tombs, the menacing tombs say, “Here are held the first and the last, the high and the low.” (tr. Ronald E. Pepin)



This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Quid caro labilis aut quid inutilis est homo? coenum.
quid, rogo, carnea gloria? glarea. quid rosa? foenum.
carnea gloria carnis et omnia, carne vigente,
sunt quasi stantia, deficientia deficiente.
cur homo nascitur aut puer editur? ut moriatur.
exit in aëra, sustinet aspera, migrat, humatur.
glarea labilis, aura volatilis est homo natus.
mane stat aggere, nec mora, vespere fertur humatus.
qui modo flos fuit, in spacio ruit unius horae.
mox rapitur, licet ingenio micet atque decore.
fit cinis infimus, ille probissimus et preciosus,
irreparabilis, irrevocabilis, officiosus.
gleba reconditur atque recluditur hospite tumba.
laus stat imaginis umbraque nominis, immo nec umbra.
vir subit Aethera, si bene; Tartara, si male gessit.
corpus humi iacet, ars perit, os tacet, aura recessit.
fex fit, homo fuit, hunc et amans spuit, horret amatus,
nosseque denegat, instat ut obtegat ocius artus,
instat ut efferat, et flet et imperat et parat urnam,
nec triduum gemit; heu! lacrimam premit ungue diurnam.
mox feretrum vehit aut feretrum praeit aut subit orans;
denique planctibus exequialibus it quasi plorans.
flens it, ovans redit; ut tumulo dedit ossa, recessit;
cessit amor pius, ut manus illius afflua cessit.
occidit, occidit hic ubi perdidit aes et amicum
qui sibi riserat; aeris amans erat, o cor iniquum!
ille probissimus, ille potissimus, ille vir, ille,
ille quid est, precor, illius et decor? urna favillae.
pulcher, amabilis, irreparabilis, unicus, aptus
instar aquae fluit, e medio fugit illico raptus.
occidit ut pecus et decor et decus omne repente,
et calor et color alget, abit dolor inde iuventae.
cur morulas paro? cara iacens caro, fex es, humaris,
esse quod es sinis; in cineres cinis extenuaris.
(Bernard of Cluny, De Contemptu Mundi 1.7161-794)

What is perishing flesh or what is useless man? Dirt. What, I ask, is the glory of the flesh? Sand. What is the rose? Dried grass. The glory of flesh and all things of flesh abide, as it were, when the flesh thrives, and they cease when the flesh ceases. Why is a man born or a child brought forth? That he might die. He goes out into the air, he bears his troubles, he departs, he is buried. As perishing sand, as a fleeting breeze has man been born. In the morning he stands on a hill—no delay—in the evening he is brought to be buried. He who was just now a blossom has fallen in the space of one hour. Although he shines with wit and beauty, he is soon snatched away. That most upright and worthy man becomes the lowest ash, that irreplaceable man cannot be called back, that dutiful man. He is buried in the earth and enclosed in a strange tomb. Praise of his statue remains, and the shadow of his name, but it is not even a shadow.
If a man has lived well, he enters heaven, but if badly, he goes to Hell. His body lies on the ground, his skill perishes, his mouth is silent, his breath has departed. He was a man, but now he becomes dregs, and his beloved friend rejects him and trembles at him, denies having known him, insists on covering his limbs quickly, insists on burying him; he weeps, he orders an urn and prepares it. He does not even mourn for three days. Alas, he presses out one day’s tears with his finger. Soon he carries the bier, or he precedes the bier, or he follows it praying. At last he goes, as if crying, to the funeral lamentations. He goes weeping, but he returns rejoicing. As soon as he gave the bones to the grave, he left. His pious love ceased as soon as that man’s copious hand ceased. Love died, it died when he lost the money and the friend who had smiled on him. He was a friend of the money, O unjust heart! That most upright man, that most powerful man, that manly man, what is that man and his glory, I ask? An urn of ashes. The handsome, loveable, irreplaceable, singular, talented man vanished like water; he fled, snatched instantly from our midst. All his beauty and honor died suddenly, as the cattle; his warmth and hue grow cold, then the anguish of youth departs. Why do I delay? Dear flesh lying dead, you are dregs, you are being buried, you cease to be what you are. O ash, you are reduced to ashes! (tr. Ronald E. Pepin)



This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Terrea gloria, terrea copia plena favillae.
gloria corruit et status aruit illius ille.
audiat auribus interioribus, audiat orbis.
orbis ut orbita vertitur incita turbine mortis;
praeterit et perit et nebulam gerit orbis amoenum.
tollitur ocius ipse vel ipsius omne serenum.
orbis honor levis est, atomus brevis, et breve festum;
nil dat amabile, nil amat utile, ridet honestum.
hosteque pectoris hosteque corporis intus et extra,
horruit aridus, aruit horridus et sua festa.
orbis amor perit atque suos terit orbis amantes,
et sua gaudia, gaudia tristia vera putantes.
evigilabimus an remanebimus in lue mundi,
quem patet ignibus, alluvionibus, hoste retundi?
quid vaga, quid rea corda colunt ea quae nihil extant,
quae breve plaudere, non breve plangere, post breve praestant?
cur caro proximus ignis et intimus hostis amatur?
carnis amor perit; est rosa, fex erit; ergo spuatur.
o caro candida, post breve foetida plenaque fecis,
flos modo, mox fimus, et fimus infimus, unde tumescis?
o caro carnea iam, modo glarea, postmodo vermis;
nunc homo, cras humus, istud enim sumus. unde superbis?
o caro debilis, o cito labilis, o male mollis,
quid petis ardua, quid tibi cornua ferrea tollis?
quid tibi crapula milleque fercula milleque pastus?
res lue proflua vivaque mortua, cur tibi fastus?
unde superbia? fex tua gloria; morte remissa.
fex tua prandia, fex tua gaudia, fex es et ipsa.
quid tibi balnea vestis et aurea? quid tibi venter?
culta licet caro, semper eris caro, nec caro semper.
post hominem cinis es, caro desinis esse, putrescis.
vis tibi quantula sit docet urnula massaque fecis.
o caro lactea, nunc rosa, postea sarcina vilis,
flos tibi corruet et rosa defluet haec iuvenilis.
quae modo florida, cras erit horrida plus loquor, horror,
horror amantibus horror et hostibus, omnibus horror.
cras eris horrida, cras eris arida, vilis, amara,
tu modo candida, tu modo florida, tu caro cara.
tristia replico, defluet illico forma decoris,
illico defluet, illico corruet, hic nitor oris.
plurima quid sequor? illa caro, decor ille peribit,
haec Venus, hic calor, ars ea seu valor ibit, obibit.
(Bernard of Cluny, De Contemptu Mundi 1.719-760)

Earthly glory, earthly abundance is full of ashes. Glory fails and the condition of abundance is dried up. Let the world hear, let it hear with its inner ears. The world is turned as a wheel moved by the wind of death. The world’s charm is mist: it passes away and vanishes. The world’s esteem is fickle, its moment is brief, its feast is short. The world bestows nothing loveable, it loves nothing useful, it ridicules integrity. Because of the enemy of the heart inside and the enemy of the body outside, the withered world shudders, the shuddering world and its feasts have withered. Love of the world perishes, and the world wears down its own friends, those who think that its joys, its mournful joys, are true joys. Shall we be watchful, or shall we remain in the mire of a world which is clearly weakened by fires, floods and foes? Why do our fickle hearts cherish things that are nothing, things which our guilty hearts briefly rejoice about, but do not briefly grieve about a short time later? Why is the flesh, our nearest fire and inmost enemy, loved? Love of the flesh perishes. It is a rose, but it will be dregs. Thus, let it be spat out.
O beautiful flesh, after a short time stinking and full of filth, now a flower but soon dung, the lowest dung, why are you puffed up? O flesh, you are flesh now, soon dirt, hereafter worms; you are a man now, tomorrow earth, for that we are. Why are you proud? O weak flesh, O flesh swiftly-perishing, O flesh wickedly soft, why do you seek high places, why take iron horns for yourself? What is this drunkenness of yours, these thousand dishes and thousand foods? O thing flowing with decay, thing living and dead, why are you arrogant? Where does your pride come from? Your glory is dregs, it is removed by death. Your meals are dregs, your joys are dregs, and you yourself are dregs. What are these baths of yours, this golden attire, this belly? Although your flesh is adorned, you will always be flesh—not even always flesh. After being a man, you are ashes, you cease to be flesh, you decay. A small urn and a lump of clay show how little strength you have. O milky flesh, now a rose, hereafter a filthy burden, your blossom will fall and this youthful rose will droop. Flesh blooming now tomrorrow will be terrifying—I say more—it will be a terror, a terror to friends, a terror to foes, a terror to all. Tomorrow you will be terrifying, tomorrow you will be withered, filthy and offensive, you flesh now shining, you flesh now blooming, you dear flesh. I repeat sad things—the shape of beauty will soon droop, soon this splendor of face will droop, soon it will fall. Why do I pursue more? That flesh, that beauty will vanish, this passion, this warmth will depart, this skill or this strength will die. (tr. Ronald E. Pepin)